It’s not just Ferguson

Unarmed man holding hands up in front of four men in full military gear Libertarians have been warning about the dangers of militarized police for years. Now it’s exploded in a way that no one can ignore. (Except that some idiots have seamlessly jumped from “Why are libertarians so paranoid about police power?” to “Why aren’t libertarians saying anything about this?”) Peaceful demonstrators have been tear-gassed and had guns pointed at them. Reporters have been arrested. It’s Selma, Alabama all over again.

This isn’t unique to Ferguson, though. The signs have been plain enough. SWAT teams have come to be used routinely. Police departments in small, peaceful cities and towns have been acquiring federally subsidized attack trucks. Concord, NH got a Bearcat armored vehicle, for the stated purpose of protecting the city from the Free State Project. Six cities in the Boston area were shut down, residents ordered to remain indoors, during the Tsarnaev manhunt. Ferguson is just the full expression of these trends, which so many people are so happy with.

You want to be “safe from terrorism” at any price? Well, this is the price: Living in terror of the police who are “protecting” you. If you now see that there might be a problem, better late than never. Pick up a copy of Rise of the Warrior Cop for a look at what’s been happening all over America.

I’m seeing calls for a “day of rage” now. That can only make things worse. We need moral outrage, but not rage.

2 Responses to “It’s not just Ferguson”

  1. Jon Baker Says:

    “Why aren’t libertarians saying anything about Ferguson?”

    Well, what have prominent Congressional Libertarians, e.g. Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, said?

    • Gary McGath Says:

      There are no capital-L Libertarians (affiliated with the Libertarian Party) in Congress, and Rand Paul is by his own statement not a libertarian. By my standards, neither one is. Your question doesn’t bear on my point. If there’s any major libertarian figure who hasn’t spoken against police abuses in Ferguson, I don’t know who it is.

      But let’s look at what those two have said anyway.

      Paul has an op-ed in Time which is quite good. He said, “There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response. The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.”

      I already knew about that one, but I haven’t checked previously on Paul Ryan. Off to (which I’m liking better than Google), be right back …

      A Huffington Post article says that “the best way to bring about resolution is to let law enforcement do whatever they need to do,” though that’s not an actual quote from Ryan. What he is quoted as saying is: “We should take a deep breath, sit back and let law enforcement do their job. Let the investigation take place so that the facts can be taken as the facts, and let justice be done appropriately.” I can agree with the second sentence, but implying that the Ferguson cops have been doing their job and should be left alone sounds rather pathetic. If he’s said anything to actually criticize the abuse of police power, I haven’t found it.

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